25 Jan 2011

UN warns of hunger in Vanuatu after cyclone

9:34 pm on 25 January 2011

An estimated 16,000 people in Vanuatu face immediate hunger and lack of safe water after a cyclone hit two weeks ago, the United Nations says.

A joint assessment by the government, UNICEF and partners has revealed Cyclone Vania caused an almost complete destruction of crops on the islands of Tanna and Erromango.

Families are expected to be without food or incomes for the next six months, Radio New Zealand International reports.

UNICEF says parts of the area were already short of food due to drought and ground wells contaminated by extensive flooding in some areas has now heightened the risk of waterborne disease.